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Franklin group redraws downtown pavilion plans

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Plans to build a downtown pavilion for farmers markets and festivals in Franklin are being scaled back and reworked as a city nonprofit organization continues to seek funding for the project.

Discover Downtown Franklin, a downtown revitalization group, is redoing its plans for an outdoor brick pavilion and will seek funding from two local organizations in upcoming months, executive director Megan Hart said.

The group originally planned to build the pavilion and add a new parking lot, playground and splash pad at the former Oren Wright property near Jefferson and Jackson streets, which is owned by the Franklin Redevelopment Commission.

The downtown farmers market has about tripled in size since 2010, with an average of 19 vendors and about 400 customers per weekend last year, according to the group.

The group requested $800,000 from the Franklin Development Corp., a nonprofit agency created and funded by the city, during a grant program in October but was not selected. The project also was included with a $1.5 million price tag as part of Franklin’s Stellar Communities grant application, but the city was not selected as a finalist for that grant.

Discover Downtown Franklin is now cutting the parking lot, playground and splash pad out of the plan. With those items removed, updated estimates for the pavilion and site work are about $375,000, Hart said.

The pavilion would have a roof, 26 stalls for vendors and restrooms, which would be open during downtown events.

The group plans to apply for a grant from the Franklin Development Corp., which is asking for another round of proposals this spring, and also plans to ask the redevelopment commission for funding in April, Hart said. The commission may fund up to $500,000, according to the city board’s project list.

Discover Downtown Franklin also is applying for other grants to try help with the project, including the $25,000 Efroymson Award for Excellence in Cultural Tourism Development.

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